Electrocutee…NOT Electrocutie! ..or what to expect when you’re shocked.

Entering the ER unit is always an adventure. My favorite aspect of the job is not knowing what waits in each room. As I start my beginning rounds, I have to be ready for anything, and it generally sets the pace for the night, with the exception of new incomings (ambulance arrivals) and law enforcement offerings.

On this particular night, I was directed to stay in the stretcher/triage area of the emergency room. Having been through a lot emotionally and physically this week, I let go a sigh of relief. This meant that I would be monitoring only up to 4 patients,  and these would inevitably be transferred to the unit or elsewhere in the hospital. So when I arrived in the stretcher/triage area, it was even more of a relief to find only 2 patients there, both having just received their morphine and on their way to Pleasantville. Whew!! I could actually sit back for a bit, catch up on some shop talk, check my messages (maybe a quick social networking update…or two) and just be.

Ok, that lasted for about 1/2 hour. Now I’m ready for some action!  …still nothing. Stretcher #2 starts to snore.  #1 wants to know if she can have something to drink. (morphene gives you the cotton mouth big time) no drink, but ice chips will do. Ahhh okay I’m downright bored now. The paramedic student beside me asks if it’s okay to go smoke a cigarette. Sure, what could happen?

Of course, what could happen? What happens is this: during the silence of the weak and convalescing 2 patients, and the paramedic gone, I get the call. The call to run over to Trauma 1 because there is an incoming  bringing a 26 year old female in her 38th week of pregnancy who just got electrocuted. Now that’s more like it! With the security guard on the watch, I run over to the trauma area, ready all the machines, meet the OB/GYN folks and help them set up, adrenaline on stun, everybody’s ready…. and here comes our white trash princess, cursing and badmouthing everybody from the county to the White House. On getting more information, we discovered that she was trying to watch Babe and felt a shock go up her left arm. She also asked if she could deliver the baby while she was there. The baby  was fine, except for a slightly elevated heartbeat. When asked, the mom revealed a 2 pack a day habit. Well, Duh! So, baby is fine, mom is fine, we didn’t deliver a baby, and now our white trash princess decides to bring her white trash mom in on the scene and they begin to trash talk our hospital. That’s where I draw the line. When you insult the hospital I work in, aren’t you insulting me, and my decision to work here? We were ready and waiting for you and your baby, ready to save your life, ready to spring  into action to revive you, and you curse our facility because we won’t deliver your baby early for you? Have a nice day.

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Hello Kitty Gone Wild

Everybody knows I love Hello Kitty. I’ve been a fan since I was about 10, and growing up with her, I’ve discovered her many different sides and attitudes.

Being in the medical field, I always try to find the interesting scrubs, the ones that aren’t so booooring.

Well, my Hello Kitty scrubs make me feel good. They are Asian inspired, and every single time I wear them to work, someone compliments them, and just loves them, and it always seems to make that shift even more fun!

One day a young man, who had just been released from prison, decided he wanted to celebrate. And celebrate he did. He tested positive for all kinds of party goods, and when the paramedics brought him in, he was talking incoherently, and so fast no one could understand him. His heart rate was 175 on admission. As the time went by, his heart rate came down to 125, and his speech became a little easier to comprehend each time I did my rounds. Having an interest in tatoos, I couldn’t  help but notice the vibrant, diabolical, flaming tatoos on this young man’s body. Flames, weapons, skulls, belligerent phrases which I won’t mention here. It was quality artwork though. Mean, but good work.

On this particular evening, I was wearing my favorite Hello Kitty scrubs.

I was finally able to understand him, and he told me that he liked my scrubs, and that he also liked Hello Kitty. Hearing this brought a chuckle, followed by an “oh, really?”

“Really!” he said, and told me that he had a Hello Kitty tatoo. “Do you want to see it?”  Of course I did!

Now I like tatoos, and I like Hello Kitty, so I thought I was in for something cool, but….

by the time I turned around he had his drawers down, and was pointing to the Hello Kitty on his groin.

This is a first for me, and I have to wonder what the motivation was for this particular art expression.

I have my theories. Do you?

Somebunny loves me!

As I was getting a newly emptied room ready for a new arrival..(We don’t have long, sometimes a minute, sometimes the Paramedics come in as we are putting on new sheets and cleaning up blood or vomit or pee…or worse)…I found a plush stuffed bunny that had been given to the previous patient. I set it aside, then when I had a minute, I found out where she’d been moved to, set off down the hall to take her the bunny. Maybe it was her main source of comfort, maybe it had some sentimental value (like the one still on my dresser that was brought to me by a close friend when I had been in the hospital). I found the 17 year old girl, who immediately saw the stuffed bunny and said “I don’t want that. I’m 17 and too old for stuffed animals.” I told her my age (I’m not telling you), and about the plush bear still on my dresser.” You can toss it.”, she said. My heart sank. As I turned around to leave, I noticed a little girl (maybe 5 or 6 years old) and decided to ask her if she liked bunny rabbits. Her eyes glowed, and her arms opened wide, and I placed the bunny into her open arms. She wasted no time saying “Thank you!”. Suddenly my heart was too big for my body. I wish teenagers could have an easier transition from innocence and wonder, to tact and appreciation.

Mission Implausible

When I saw the prisoner patient being escorted into the ER by the 2 policemen, It was immediately evident why he required 2 policemen. I busied myself with another patient, and my coworker Joe took on the duty of processing this admission. The usual procedure is to have them undress completely, change into the disposable paper blue scrubs, itemizing and listing everything that was on their person, which means counting all money,  drugs (if any), valuables, and separating them. Clothes and personal effects go into a locker, valuables into a safe, and drugs go to the pharmacy. I coined a phrase for this procedure. I call it “Skankbaggin”

So Joe, who is about twice my size and weight and strength, was dwarfed by this new admission, who was angry. And tough.

Joe comes into the room where I am pulling out an I.V. and asks to trade missions.

Trade missions. I am taking out an elderly lady’s I.V. tubing. He wants me to go finish the skankbagging of Goliath. It is so ridiculous that I just traded with him. He seemed intimidated. I do not intimidate easily.

So I enter the holding cell with the 2 police and “Goliath”. He makes water for me, changes clothes, takes off his jewelry, and gives me his valuables, and calls me Ma’am throughout as I take his vitals, etc.

I have to wonder how he was brought up, and what he must have gone through as a child. I wonder this a lot at work.

The funny part was when the policeman came to me trying to figure it out, and in his county seat accent, called the patient a “Dayum Reyudneck”. This Southern redneck cop was calling this prisoner the very same.

Now isn’t that the cop calling the felon black.